Free Essays, Book Reports, Free Essays, Cliff Notes
About UsCustom WritingFree EssaysContact Us

Search 28,000 Free Essays, Cliff Notes and Book Reports

 
 

Custom Essays
only $12.95
per page!

 
 

 
 

Top 25
Essay Sites

 
Top 50

Essay Sites


Top 100
Essay Sites

 
Need a Term Paper for College?

Our very best writers will produce any essay or term paper you are looking for! We offer reasonable prices and deliver top quality papers on virtually any topic. Our service is available 24/7. Be sure that we are reliable and consistent.

Order your custom term paper for only $12.95 a page!

Class, State, And Crime: Social Conflict Perspective

Michael Merchant Class: Social Psychology Class, State, and Crime : Social Conflict Perspective How does Class, state ,and social controls within a capitalistic society lead to increase crime due to the criminal laws and criminal justice system imposed on the lower middle class. Social conflict theory is the only one out of the vast number of criminology theories that deals directly with this problem. From out of it’s Marxist roots arose a theory which challenges the way in which today’s society views it’s legal system and the implications it has on it’s working class citizens. The nature and purpose of social conflict theories is to examine the social controls made by the ruling class and imposed on the rest of society. Some theorists say that class order has nothing to do with crime rates in society, but Richard Quinney have made great strides in proving that social class has a direct correlation with crime due to the social controls of a capitalist government. Social conflict theory focuses on why governments make and enforce rules of law and morality then why an individual violates the law. Conflict theorists do not view those who commit deviant behavior as rebels who can’t conform to social norms, they show how criminal law is used as a mechanism for social change. Conflict theory flourished during the widespread social and political changes of the 1960's, because it challenged the legitimacy of the government’s creation and implication of laws designed to keep the middle- class down. Social Conflict Theory came out of the Marxist thought. “Marx believed that the character of every civilization is determined by its mode of production the way its people develop and produce material goods.”( Senna, pg 226) This concept has two main components: productive forces and productive relationships. Productive forces include things such as technology, energy sources, and material resources. Productive relationships are relationships between the people producing the goods and services. The most important relationship in industrial culture is between the owners of the means of production and the proletarians. The political and economic belief of the dominate class influences all aspects of life in that workers bend to the whims of the capitalist system. Thus, the economic system controls all aspects of human life, and these lives are left to revolve around the means of production. Marx believed the system contained the seeds of it’s own destruction in that capitalists are constantly competing to produce goods more efficiently and cheaper. When wages are cut so low that the laboring class is unable to purchase the goods produced there will be an economic crisis. Then when conditions are bad enough the oppressed will rise up against the owners and capitalism will have destroyed itself. The primary goal of Social Conflict is to examine the relationship between the ruling class and the process by which deviance is defined and controlled in capitalist society. The government creates laws and rules to maintain the power and position for the power elite. Centering around a view of society in which the elite class uses the criminal justice system as a means of controlling threats to its status. The ruling elite extends the definition of illegal or criminal behavior to encompass those whom might threaten the status quo. The rules draw the lower middle class into this pattern of control, leading the have-nots to believe they hold a stake in the status quo. Conflict theorists do not argue that the poor commit more crimes than the rich, but they are certainly arrested and punished more often. A natural frustration exists in society in which a high value is placed on being rich and attaining the American dream, but this dream is unattainable for the majority of the citizens. A deep hostility develops among the lower class toward a social order that they can not participate unless it’s by illegal means. Thus, the legal system is designed to guard the position of the upper class by any legal means necessary. “ Conflict theorists seriously contradict the long-held presumption that the American system of law and justice is humane and fair to all citizens.” (Senna, page 228) Conflict theorist’s view the concept of juvenile delinquency to be created by and for the greater good of the capitalist society. Delinquency is a normal response by youth to the social conditions and controls placed upon them by the system. The roots of juvenile delinquency can be traced to nineteenth-century efforts of powerful and wealthy citizens to control the behavior of weak youths. Social control agencies such as the family and the schools prepare youth for placement in the capitalistic system, by giving them behavior models that help them conform to job expectations. The capitalist state fails to control delinquents, because it is in the state’s best interest to have a large number of deviant youths. These youths later are used to work in low paying jobs that no one else wants, thus maintaining and underclass of cheap labor that will produce quality goods and services for the upper-class. The lower-class often form gangs as a means to survive in a system that offers no other alternatives for them to reach the American dream. Other classes in stable areas commit crime because the economic system excludes them from advancement. The middle-class youth also face problems such as alienation of individuals, the competitive struggle, and the absence of human feelings, all of which are aspects of capitalism, contribute to middle-class delinquency. Thus, conflict theory can be used to show not only do the poor commit crimes, but also that the so called privileged fall into patterns of criminal activity due to some of the same capitalistic pressures. Many critics of social theory feel that it lack empirical verification and have been historical and theoretical. “When Marxist theories of deviance are tested they lack the specific propositions sociologists require to test theories properly.”(senna, page 234) Others dispute the claims that the crimes of the rich are worst than those of the poor. Criminal activity and immoral behavior occur on every social level. Can a correlation between crime rates and social class be found in the non-theoretical world? According to a study done by Mary Lynn McDonald there is a direct correlation between social class and delinquency. She used a four-fold classification of social class: upper middle, lower middle, upper working, and lower working. She then went through several different categories of crime: serious theft, damage, violent, petty theft, and general misconduct. In each of the categories there was a higher admission to committing these crimes from upper working and lower working boys than the middle class boys. The gap grew even more wider when a two-fold classification was used grouping the working-class boys together and the middle-class boys. “There are differences between the social classes in rates of admitted delinquency, measured several ways, consistently showing higher rates on the part of the working-class boy.” (McDonald, page 98) Richard Quinney see’s criminal justice as a principle feature of the modern advanced capitalist society. The concept of injustice has evolved with the development of capitalism. As economic development goes through different stages the notion of justice gets tied to the basis of production securing the existing order. Capitalist justice regulates the struggle between classes in developing capitalism. “Justice in a capitalist society, today as always, is an ideological and practical instrument in class struggle.” (Quinney, Page 2) Justice is to be applied to individual cases, but the general objective is for the promotion of social order. The healthy order becomes one that benefits the capitalist class. Justice in the capitalist society equals the idea of equal justice with the formulation and administration of positive law. Capitalist justice is then made concrete in the establishment of the legal order. Quinney puts it this way, “Capitalist justice is by the capitalist class, for the capitalist class, and against the working class.” ( Quinney, Page 3) Since the 1960's official and public attention has focused on rising crime and how it should be controlled. To prevent crime, law enforcement officers must be better organized and equipped, and more effective legislation must be passed. At this period a new terminology was being born, criminal justice. The criminal justice movement is thus understood as a state-initiated and state- supported effort to rationalize mechanisms of social control. The system developed is one in which can be modified periodically as problems created by capitalism arise. The state also makes sure the citizens participate in crime control by having crime watches in the communities and citizen patrols. The concept of justice serves the larger purpose of providing a standard by which to judge our concrete actions. Quinney poses the question, “Is justice necessary in Marxist theory and practice?” (Quinney, page 27) Marx is seen to have avoided the use of justice as terminology. The whole notion of justice was seen as a way of mystifying the actual operation of capitalism. The problem with the concept of justice is that it is fundamentally a juridical or legal concept. Thus, the concept of justice is restricted to rational standards by which laws, social institutions, and human actions are judged. In this society human life is to be understood in terms of productive forces and relations of society, and not with the state as an expression of the prevailing mode of production. When a system is oppressive the term “unjust” misses the larger design. The terminology of justice limits the understanding, and blinds the citizens of the capitalist society to the truth that oppression does exist in this structure. Apolitical economy based on increasing capital is bond for class struggle between the working class and the owners. The ironic thing about capitalism is that the capitalist class needs the expansion of productivity from the workers to gain a surplus value. The dynamics of capitalism is the struggle between classes. “The principle classes of any capital society, at the various stages of development, are the classes whose interrelations determine the essence of the mode of production.” (Afanassyev, page 66) The composition of the principle classes has been undergoing changes in recent decades of capitalist development. These changes have come about due to modern scientific and technological advances and with new demands of capitalist accumulation. The most important thing however in the development of advanced capitalism is the expansion of the labor class. The changes in the labor force from manual to clerical changes the class structure of advanced capitalism. However, the capitalist class is also divided into several fractions. Two major fractions are those who own and control the units of the economy as opposed to those whose holdings are less than that of the uppermost sector of the class. The upper division, the “monopoly sector,” owns the large corporations and financial institutions. These capitalist of the upper divisions control and influence most if not all of the world’s economy. This is only one percent of the population, whereas, eighty percent are in the working class, but the upper division weald all the power. Once someone resists the notion that such a small portion of the population should hold all the power they are immediately labeled as being criminal an enemy of the state. Instead of an enemy they were only standing up and speaking out against the oppression of capitalism and the task becomes a political awaking of the people about the oppression of the power that be. Politically conscious action in such a fashion becomes a vital part of the class struggle and the problem lies in developing a revolutionary consciousness among those who resist capitalist conditions. The social problems generated by the capitalist system are increased with further development of capitalism and the class struggle becomes regulated by the state. Policies of control are implemented in an attempt to regulate conflicts that can otherwise be changed by social and economic reforms. The political economy is entertained with the political economy of criminal justice and the capitalist expands its resources on programs to secure the order. These programs are designed to keep “social peace” among the employed and underprivileged citizens. Welfare and law enforcement are the primary forms of the state’s social expenses that repress action against the existing order and the criminal justice system becomes the guardian of the capitalist system. Instead of solving the problems of crime the attention turns to how much crime can society afford and to reduce crime would change beyond recognition the capitalist system. Crime becomes the price the capitalist would pay for capitalism, unfortunately all citizens end up paying the price. The future of the criminal justice system is that it continues to be developed by the state and the upper-class as a way of controlling the middle-class and the lower-class. Criminal justice is mixed with traditional conservatism and liberal approaches to social problems. As these problems grow the political expressions by the citizens grow smaller and smaller and the strength of the state grows stronger and stronger. The irony lies in that strengthening the criminal justice system only strengthens what facilitates crime in the first place. Criminal Justice ceases to be the solution to crime and in order to move beyond it we must move beyond capitalism and satisfy the needs of the entire working class. Social conflict theory deals with this critical dilemma in our society oppression and examines the social controls placed on society by the ruling class.

Bibliography

McDonald, Lynn. Social Class and Delinquency. Connecticut: Archon, 1969 Quinney, Richard. Class, State, and Crime. New York: Longman, 1977 Quinney, Richard. The Social Reality of Crime. Boston: Little, Brown 1970 Savitz, Leonard and Marvin Wolfgang. The Sociology of Crime and Delinquency. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1970 Senna, Joseph and Larry Siegel. Juvenile Delinquency Theory, Practice, and Law. New York: West Publishing, 1994

Bibliography

Michael Merchant Class: Social Psychology Class, State, and Crime : Social Conflict Perspective How does Class, state ,and social controls within a capitalistic society lead to increase crime due to the criminal laws and criminal justice system imposed on the lower middle class. Social conflict theory is the only one out of the vast number of criminology theories that deals directly with this problem. From out of it’s Marxist roots arose a theory which challenges the way in which today’s society views it’s legal system and the implications it has on it’s working class citizens. The nature and purpose of social conflict theories is to examine the social controls made by the ruling class and imposed on the rest of society. Some theorists say that class order has nothing to do with crime rates in society, but Richard Quinney have made great strides in proving that social class has a direct correlation with crime due to the social controls of a capitalist government. Social conflict theory focuses on why governments make and enforce rules of law and morality then why an individual violates the law. Conflict theorists do not view those who commit deviant behavior as rebels who can’t conform to social norms, they show how criminal law is used as a mechanism for social change. Conflict theory flourished during the widespread social and political changes of the 1960's, because it challenged the legitimacy of the government’s creation and implication of laws designed to keep the middle- class down. Social Conflict Theory came out of the Marxist thought. “Marx believed that the character of every civilization is determined by its mode of production the way its people develop and produce material goods.”( Senna, pg 226) This concept has two main components: productive forces and productive relationships. Productive forces include things such as technology, energy sources, and material resources. Productive relationships are relationships between the people producing the goods and services. The most important relationship in industrial culture is between the owners of the means of production and the proletarians. The political and economic belief of the dominate class influences all aspects of life in that workers bend to the whims of the capitalist system. Thus, the economic system controls all aspects of human life, and these lives are left to revolve around the means of production. Marx believed the system contained the seeds of it’s own destruction in that capitalists are constantly competing to produce goods more efficiently and cheaper. When wages are cut so low that the laboring class is unable to purchase the goods produced there will be an economic crisis. Then when conditions are bad enough the oppressed will rise up against the owners and capitalism will have destroyed itself. The primary goal of Social Conflict is to examine the relationship between the ruling class and the process by which deviance is defined and controlled in capitalist society. The government creates laws and rules to maintain the power and position for the power elite. Centering around a view of society in which the elite class uses the criminal justice system as a means of controlling threats to its status. The ruling elite extends the definition of illegal or criminal behavior to encompass those whom might threaten the status quo. The rules draw the lower middle class into this pattern of control, leading the have-nots to believe they hold a stake in the status quo. Conflict theorists do not argue that the poor commit more crimes than the rich, but they are certainly arrested and punished more often. A natural frustration exists in society in which a high value is placed on being rich and attaining the American dream, but this dream is unattainable for the majority of the citizens. A deep hostility develops among the lower class toward a social order that they can not participate unless it’s by illegal means. Thus, the legal system is designed to guard the position of the upper class by any legal means necessary. “ Conflict theorists seriously contradict the long-held presumption that the American system of law and justice is humane and fair to all citizens.” (Senna, page 228) Conflict theorist’s view the concept of juvenile delinquency to be created by and for the greater good of the capitalist society. Delinquency is a normal response by youth to the social conditions and controls placed upon them by the system. The roots of juvenile delinquency can be traced to nineteenth-century efforts of powerful and wealthy citizens to control the behavior of weak youths. Social control agencies such as the family and the schools prepare youth for placement in the capitalistic system, by giving them behavior models that help them conform to job expectations. The capitalist state fails to control delinquents, because it is in the state’s best interest to have a large number of deviant youths. These youths later are used to work in low paying jobs that no one else wants, thus maintaining and underclass of cheap labor that will produce quality goods and services for the upper-class. The lower-class often form gangs as a means to survive in a system that offers no other alternatives for them to reach the American dream. Other classes in stable areas commit crime because the economic system excludes them from advancement. The middle-class youth also face problems such as alienation of individuals, the competitive struggle, and the absence of human feelings, all of which are aspects of capitalism, contribute to middle-class delinquency. Thus, conflict theory can be used to show not only do the poor commit crimes, but also that the so called privileged fall into patterns of criminal activity due to some of the same capitalistic pressures. Many critics of social theory feel that it lack empirical verification and have been historical and theoretical. “When Marxist theories of deviance are tested they lack the specific propositions sociologists require to test theories properly.”(senna, page 234) Others dispute the claims that the crimes of the rich are worst than those of the poor. Criminal activity and immoral behavior occur on every social level. Can a correlation between crime rates and social class be found in the non-theoretical world? According to a study done by Mary Lynn McDonald there is a direct correlation between social class and delinquency. She used a four-fold classification of social class: upper middle, lower middle, upper working, and lower working. She then went through several different categories of crime: serious theft, damage, violent, petty theft, and general misconduct. In each of the categories there was a higher admission to committing these crimes from upper working and lower working boys than the middle class boys. The gap grew even more wider when a two-fold classification was used grouping the working-class boys together and the middle-class boys. “There are differences between the social classes in rates of admitted delinquency, measured several ways, consistently showing higher rates on the part of the working-class boy.” (McDonald, page 98) Richard Quinney see’s criminal justice as a principle feature of the modern advanced capitalist society. The concept of injustice has evolved with the development of capitalism. As economic development goes through different stages the notion of justice gets tied to the basis of production securing the existing order. Capitalist justice regulates the struggle between classes in developing capitalism. “Justice in a capitalist society, today as always, is an ideological and practical instrument in class struggle.” (Quinney, Page 2) Justice is to be applied to individual cases, but the general objective is for the promotion of social order. The healthy order becomes one that benefits the capitalist class. Justice in the capitalist society equals the idea of equal justice with the formulation and administration of positive law. Capitalist justice is then made concrete in the establishment of the legal order. Quinney puts it this way, “Capitalist justice is by the capitalist class, for the capitalist class, and against the working class.” ( Quinney, Page 3) Since the 1960's official and public attention has focused on rising crime and how it should be controlled. To prevent crime, law enforcement officers must be better organized and equipped, and more effective legislation must be passed. At this period a new terminology was being born, criminal justice. The criminal justice movement is thus understood as a state-initiated and state- supported effort to rationalize mechanisms of social control. The system developed is one in which can be modified periodically as problems created by capitalism arise. The state also makes sure the citizens participate in crime control by having crime watches in the communities and citizen patrols. The concept of justice serves the larger purpose of providing a standard by which to judge our concrete actions. Quinney poses the question, “Is justice necessary in Marxist theory and practice?” (Quinney, page 27) Marx is seen to have avoided the use of justice as terminology. The whole notion of justice was seen as a way of mystifying the actual operation of capitalism. The problem with the concept of justice is that it is fundamentally a juridical or legal concept. Thus, the concept of justice is restricted to rational standards by which laws, social institutions, and human actions are judged. In this society human life is to be understood in terms of productive forces and relations of society, and not with the state as an expression of the prevailing mode of production. When a system is oppressive the term “unjust” misses the larger design. The terminology of justice limits the understanding, and blinds the citizens of the capitalist society to the truth that oppression does exist in this structure. Apolitical economy based on increasing capital is bond for class struggle between the working class and the owners. The ironic thing about capitalism is that the capitalist class needs the expansion of productivity from the workers to gain a surplus value. The dynamics of capitalism is the struggle between classes. “The principle classes of any capital society, at the various stages of development, are the classes whose interrelations determine the essence of the mode of production.” (Afanassyev, page 66) The composition of the principle classes has been undergoing changes in recent decades of capitalist development. These changes have come about due to modern scientific and technological advances and with new demands of capitalist accumulation. The most important thing however in the development of advanced capitalism is the expansion of the labor class. The changes in the labor force from manual to clerical changes the class structure of advanced capitalism. However, the capitalist class is also divided into several fractions. Two major fractions are those who own and control the units of the economy as opposed to those whose holdings are less than that of the uppermost sector of the class. The upper division, the “monopoly sector,” owns the large corporations and financial institutions. These capitalist of the upper divisions control and influence most if not all of the world’s economy. This is only one percent of the population, whereas, eighty percent are in the working class, but the upper division weald all the power. Once someone resists the notion that such a small portion of the population should hold all the power they are immediately labeled as being criminal an enemy of the state. Instead of an enemy they were only standing up and speaking out against the oppression of capitalism and the task becomes a political awaking of the people about the oppression of the power that be. Politically conscious action in such a fashion becomes a vital part of the class struggle and the problem lies in developing a revolutionary consciousness among those who resist capitalist conditions. The social problems generated by the capitalist system are increased with further development of capitalism and the class struggle becomes regulated by the state. Policies of control are implemented in an attempt to regulate conflicts that can otherwise be changed by social and economic reforms. The political economy is entertained with the political economy of criminal justice and the capitalist expands its resources on programs to secure the order. These programs are designed to keep “social peace” among the employed and underprivileged citizens. Welfare and law enforcement are the primary forms of the state’s social expenses that repress action against the existing order and the criminal justice system becomes the guardian of the capitalist system. Instead of solving the problems of crime the attention turns to how much crime can society afford and to reduce crime would change beyond recognition the capitalist system. Crime becomes the price the capitalist would pay for capitalism, unfortunately all citizens end up paying the price. The future of the criminal justice system is that it continues to be developed by the state and the upper-class as a way of controlling the middle-class and the lower-class. Criminal justice is mixed with traditional conservatism and liberal approaches to social problems. As these problems grow the political expressions by the citizens grow smaller and smaller and the strength of the state grows stronger and stronger. The irony lies in that strengthening the criminal justice system only strengthens what facilitates crime in the first place. Criminal Justice ceases to be the solution to crime and in order to move beyond it we must move beyond capitalism and satisfy the needs of the entire working class. Social conflict theory deals with this critical dilemma in our society oppression and examines the social controls placed on society by the ruling class.

Bibliography

McDonald, Lynn. Social Class and Delinquency. Connecticut: Archon, 1969 Quinney, Richard. Class, State, and Crime. New York: Longman, 1977 Quinney, Richard. The Social Reality of Crime. Boston: Little, Brown 1970 Savitz, Leonard and Marvin Wolfgang. The Sociology of Crime and Delinquency. New York: John Wiley and Sons, 1970 Senna, Joseph and Larry Siegel. Juvenile Delinquency Theory, Practice, and Law. New York: West Publishing, 1994

Word Count: 2298

 

Free Essays, Cliff Notes, Book Reports from WowEssays

 
 

  


Copyright 1999-2004 Wow Essays, All Rights Reserved
Design by Dream Net Studio